This is a universe in which, however reluctantly, all of us, even the most powerful, must continue to face the unremitting possibility that at any moment we might cease to exist. Not because of the wrath of an angry god, which would at least suggest, flatteringly, that humanity was worthy of his attention, if only briefly. Even a deliberate suicidal act of nuclear self-destruction would imply the possibility of shaping our destiny. But oblivion could be the product of something as meaningless as the random, arbitrary, emotionless intervention of a wandering asteroid, a volcanic eruption, or even the emergence of a previously unknown bacillus or species-jumping virus. Against this dismaying background, architecture offers the possibility of a brief interlude of lucidity. Through it, the logical, the ordered, and the meaningful are acknowledged as options, even as the future of the world itself lies in the hands of the random, the arbitrary, and the meaningless, which could wipe out even the cockroaches.
Architecture is a device that allows us the chance to forget the precariousness of our position for a moment, and to create at least the illusion of meaning when we measure it against its own internal logic and find some sense of correspondence and predictability. It cannot, of course, impose order on an orderless universe. But architecture can provide a reference point against which we can measure our place in the world. It cannot make us live forever, but architecture can be used to confront our fear of death and to offer the hope of some kind of permanence.
Deyan Sudjic, The Edifice Complex